The Classification Board generally classifies all films screened in a cinema for a public audience. This is the process that gives films the classification rating that most people are familiar with:
G: General Viewing
No legal restrictions.
PG: Parental Guidance Recommended
No legal restrictions, but parents are encouraged to make a judgement call.
M: Mature Audience Recommended
Not recommended for people below 15-years-old but no legal restrictions apply.
MA 15+: Mature Audiences Only
Not suitable for people below 15-years-old and people under 15 cannot legally attend unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.
R 18+: Restricted to Adults
Not suitable for people below 18-years-old and people under 18 cannot legally attend even if with a parent or adult guardian.
Festival classification exemptions
Due to the time taken to process a classification, the Classification Board recognises that it is not possible for a film festival such as BIFF to only screen films that have been officially classified. Therefore, special exemptions apply to festivals.
This is not the same as an R18+ rating, but it acts in a similar way – nobody under 18 (including infants) can legally attend a session with this exemption, even with a parent or adult guardian. One of the key differences between R and Unclassified 18+ is that the content will not be as per an R movie – it is only that it hasn’t yet been classified as suitable for anyone other than an adult audience.
The majority of films screening at BIFF are Unclassified 15+. This is not the same as an MA 15+ rating, but it acts in the same way – nobody under 15 can legally attend such a session unless they are with a parent or reasonable adult guardian. In terms of content, the age range for these films varies. Please see the age recommendations that BIFF has listed on the film as guidance.
Please note: All classifications and exemptions are age restrictions that are set by the Classification Board.